The Sigurd Portal
- History and Description
- Outline of the Story
- Related Links
Hylestad, Setesdal, Norway.
Carved figures in wooden panels at the sides of the entrance to a medieval
stave church in
Norway illustrate the story of Sigurd the dragon slayer.
This tale is alluded to in Beowulf, Njal's Saga, and other ancient
and is recited with substantial detail in the Prose Edda of
Sturluson and in the thirteenth-century anonymous Icelandic works Saga
Volsungs and Dietrich's Saga.
- Sigurd and Regin, a master swordsmith, plan to kill the dragon Fafnir
and take possession of his treasure.
- Sigurd positions himself in a trench beneath the dragon's trail, and
stabs him from beneath when Fafnir leaves his lair for water.
- Regin asks Sigurd to cook the dragon's heart and give it to him to
eat. While cooking the heart, Sigurd tests its doneness by putting some
of its juice into his mouth with his finger.
- Upon thus tasting the dragon's blood, Sigurd can understand the
language of the two nearby birds, who are conversing with one another as
to how the treacherous Regin plans to betray Sigurd.
- Forewarned by the birds, Sigurd kills Regin.
- Sigurd then loads Fafnir's treasure onto his horse Grani and departs
for new adventures.
- Sigurd marries Gudrun. Her brothers Gunnar, Hogni, and Guttorm plot
to kill Sigurd in order to (among other reasons) take possession of
- Gunnar sinks the treasure in the Rhine.
- Gudrun marries Atli (Attila the Hun).
- Atli, in a vain attempt to
discover the location of Fafnir's treasure, throws Gunnar into a
snake-pit. Gunnar, for a time, pacifies the snakes by playing a harp
with his toes.
Revised February 4, 2000.